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Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Department of Labor Files Second Enterprise-Wide Complaint

The U.S. Department of Labor's regional solicitor's office in Boston has filed a complaint against DeMoulas Super Markets Inc., doing business as Market Basket, with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The complaint asks the commission to order the Tewksbury, Mass.-based chain to comply with the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's safety standards designed to protect employees from fall and laceration hazards at the employer's more than 60 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

This marks the second such time that the department has expressly sought enterprise-wide relief from an employer. The first time was against the U.S. Postal Service in July 2010 for correction of electrical work safety violations at 350 postal facilities throughout the nation. That matter is pending.

This request for enterprisewide relief is based upon hazards OSHA found during inspections of various DeMoulas stores, including the agency's most recent inspections at Market Basket stores in Rindge and Concord, N.H. Those inspections resulted in citations and proposed OSHA fines totaling $589,200, which DeMoulas has contested to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

"Hazardous conditions at multiple locations that expose employees to serious injuries demand a swift and comprehensive corrective response at the corporate level," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "OSHA insists that this employer completely and effectively eliminate the hazards it never should have allowed to exist in the first place."

The department's complaint alleges that employees at multiple Market Basket stores were exposed or likely to be exposed to fall hazards from unguarded, open-sided work and storage areas, including storage lofts and atop produce coolers and freezers. An employee of the Market Basket store in Rindge was seriously injured in April 2011 when he fell 11 feet onto a concrete floor from an inadequately guarded storage mezzanine, and an employee at a Billerica, Mass., store was seriously injured under similar conditions in 2007.

The company also allegedly failed to protect employees in produce, deli and bakery departments against laceration hazards from knives and cutting instruments by not conducting job hazard analyses that would have identified the need for hand protection, and by not providing such hand protection to workers exposed to the hazards. In 2006, after being cited by OSHA, the company agreed to complete job hazard analyses in all stores but failed to do so. Between 2008 and 2011, employees at the Rindge and Concord stores sustained at least 40 recorded hand lacerations.

"Worker safety is not optional, and it cannot be addressed in a piecemeal fashion. It must be addressed across the board," said Michaels. "This employer has the responsibility to safeguard all its employees at all its locations, something it has failed to do."

DeMoulas Super Markets has 20 days from receipt of the complaint to file an answer. Details of OSHA's inspections of the Rindge and Concord stores and copies of the citations can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=20880.

Related Past Posts:
OSHA Fines Indiana Company Over $460,000
$1,000,000 Fine For Piping Technology Company
Declining Work Related Fatalities

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope to see more of this. Corporations should not be allowed to get away with putting their workers in danger just so they can make more profit. Its good to read that OSHA is finally doing their job.

6:55 AM  

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